By Steve Spear
Sixteen years ago Andrew Pass joined his parents’ company “just to help Mum and Dad.” Now he is the managing director of a third-generation business that is known as one of the finest independent watch and jewellery retailers in the UK.
This year, with the opening of the Newcastle-Under-Lyme store (his third, adding to the existing Crewe store, plus The Box, a jewellery fascia in The Potteries) he has steered it into its strongest position yet.
The impressive new double-fronted store drips with luxury brands – perhaps, most notably Rolex and Omega – and its opening has helped Andrew to maintain his astounding record of adding sales growth in all but one of the past 16 years. The exception was 2006, which was hit by a large scale robbery.
With such a track record it is no surprise that Andrew has been honoured for retail excellence before. But this is the first time that it rewards him specifically for watch retail. And that makes this recognition particularly sweet for him.
“It is a good fit, because I’m absolutely passionate about watches,” he says. “I love and adore them so to be in the debut WatchPro Hot 100, for me that’s great.” As they – and Andrew himself – say, behind every good man is a good woman, and for this good man it’s his wife Julie. While we were keen to have Julie get the recognition she deserves for jointly building the business with Andrew by including her as one of our Hot 100, we couldn’t tempt her to forget her dislike of the camera for an afternoon. But we’re not the first to try and fail. “She wouldn’t even be in our wedding photos,” exclaims Andrew.
Andrew and Julie are also keen to share the praise with their team. “It is essentially a family business and the staff are both loyal and amazing – the average longevity is over 20 years,” says Andrew. “I work every day with people that used to babysit me – so you can imagine that it’s a pretty flat management structure.”
The Passes – and their team – go above and beyond. This month they are taking 10 customers to Wentworth to watch the golf. Later in the year, they are taking some to Germany to see their purchases made. As well as a Bond Street-style store, this retail team have the service standards to match.